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tv   [untitled]    March 5, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EST

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captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 >> i interpreted your opening remarks to be moving very close to a military option and crossing that line basically. i'm old enough to remember our concerns about india when it became a nuclear power and
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pakistan and even china a bit. we learned to live with these three countries as nuclear powers, essentially through a system of deterrence, a very unfashionable word these days. i'd like to pick up on that and ask why is it that we seem to close the option of having iran become a, quote, nuclear power, unquote, but not supporting the notion that deferns will not work, in terms of doing anything. sure it mid concern the saudis and others and fundamentally israel. but israel has 80 to 100 nuclear weapons. ultimately in my judgment, even though it's not formally written, israel has a u.s. guarantee for its existence. this seems to be discounted in much of the discussion in washington these days when it seems to be moving for or against the military option.
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part of that package very often is that we don't include the notion that we can deter a nuclear iran from doing anything which is fundamentally disastrous for israel or for the world system. thank you. >> so, andrew, i think which get a lot of that. i think i said deterrence tends to work with states or a sentence like that, if we roll back the tape. i believe deterrence works with states, even states that we consider less, in quotes, rational than we are. in other words, they have a more -- let's say interesting leadership. so from my perspective, you're quite correct, if we were to look ahead and say there is no strike and they do develop nuclear weapons and do what other countries have done and
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say, yes, we have a nuclear weapons program, you found us out. there it is, we've built nuclear weapons. what will happen? will the world fall apart? when i look at the threat, the thing i think about is that's a persian capability and there are arabs who will not be pleased with it and put it in those terms. i believe that some other arab countries who have thought about this before we think about acquiring nuclear weapons themselves and the middle east will become a more dangerous place than it is now. we can unfold that out a little more, i think we know what we're talking about. so that's the domino issue. i would say, also, that while i do not believe that iran would launch an attack with its missiles, should it have missiles that could reach the united states, et cetera. i'm not terribly worried about that. i do believe israel is in a
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different circumstance. i do believe there is a certain history. there's a certain character of discussion which has been very troubling to me, and i know it is to israel. so while i was on the edge of discounting north korean use of nuclear weapons, i'm more -- slightly more guarded in the iranian case and the israel case. the reason why israel would regard this, and they use the various words to capture the transcendent character of this threat, i can understand that. but i'm really edging up to a point which is my first point. i'm concerned about transfer, and i'm prepared to embrace deterrence. but let me tell you that, if you don't know who whacked you and they think you won't find out who whacked you, it's hard to deter them. second, if you're dealing with someone who values your death
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more than their life, they're hard to deter. we've got two really big kinds of problems with deterrence in a world of nuclear terrorism. i worry, one, the country will conclude that transfer will not be discovered and that our capability to attribute material in a nuclear device, either before it's detonated or after it's detonated is less than absolute. we have forensic means of doing that, all kinds of ways, but we haven't created that in an absolute way so i can absolutely tell you right now that, if anyone transfers anything somewhere else and that somewhere else turned out to be a place where a nuclear weapon is fabricated and then detonated in new jersey, that ill bee able to tell you who did it. i can tell them beforehand and we can construct the system of deterrence of the kind you talked about. we're not in that world yet. maybe we will be and maybe deterrence can be used against other groups. right now there's this whole scenario that i worry about more than any other when i talk about -- when i think about
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nuclear weapons in today's world. and it's a very scary one to me. again, i said, i don't want what i said to be simplified in that i advocate a strike against iran. it can't say that, because i don't know the consequences of a strike against iran. not only do i mean by that i don't know what the iranians would do, though i care about it. i don't know the consequences in terms of how effective it would be, and i would need to know that, too. but i am willing to -- the other side of it, and say i don't know of another way of dissuading this regime from its course. >> could i just jump in real quickly? i think what i'm going to say is consistent with what bob put very cautiously, and i'm going to be less cautious. my biggest problem with the idea of living with a nuclear armed iran, of course, has to do with
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the pernicious and dangerous nature of the regime itself. but it also has to do, to take us back to the core word which is not transfer but prof live ration of what the effects would be in the area. north korea is hemmed in by a nuclear armed and npt nuclear weapons state in russia, another one in china and then, of course, the rok and japan, both of which are covered by treaties and nuclear umbrella by the united states. it's different from that. it's also different from india. when the indians set off their nuclear device that mem a lot ble monday morning in of us had is it's only a matter of days. i think it ended up being 12
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days before the pakistanis did it. we knew that was going to happen. if you're talking about iran, it's a longer have started talk in different ways ability their own options here. the uae has come up. saudi arabia has come up. 14 months ago we probably would have put egypt on the list and we may some months from now want to keep egypt on the list of other countries in the region. and then it's kind of jenny bar the door as far as the global proliferation regime. >> i'm from the international law institute. my question is russia on the list? is the interest of russia in iran part of the equation? >> you were looking at me when
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you asked. of courses russia is an important fact tor and has from time to time, not as consistently or fully as we would like, been on the solution end the spectrum. the russians emphatically don't want iran to be a nuclear weapons state, for all kinds of reasons, including what i alluded to a moment ago, what it would do to the region. but also insofar as that enhanced or fueled iran's capability to make trouble in various parts of the culturally muslim regions of the russian federation, they would be more of a danger. now, their behavior has been not consistent and sometimes not helpful, but i don't think there's any question that the russians hope very much they can avoid two things. one, iran becoming a nuclear weapons state, and the other is a war in and over iran. whether they have both of those is at the core of what we're
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talking about here. >> would you say -- when i look at the way the russians look at iran, the sort of level of risk that the united states or israel attaches to nuclear armed iran, i think the russians feel a lesser sense of urgency, in the sense that maybe they look at a nuclear iran like a nuclear pakistan in '98, that it's a bad thing but we can deal with it. that's i think part of the difference here. >> maybe. i think there's another motive, too. bob and i and a couple others in the room spent some time on thissish glue the '90s when the russians were materially helping the iranians, both with their nuclear weapons program and their ballistic weapons program. i can remember -- i-4 g. they said this is one way we can maintain our leverage with the iranians. we know they were in your camp once upon a time.
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they had this shah who went out. we want to make sure we have leverage. i'm not going to try to either explain or justify the logic of that. but i think that's part of i. >> eric from the instituted on foreign policy analysis. bob, you characterized jonathan's description as balanced which i don't disagree with except to say there was a great deal of caution expressed. i wonder what you would think of, rather than our thinking caution now, that our thinking maybe a reckless effort almost, at least one that's energetic, robust, maybe provocative, urgent to use the word and maybe a capacious one that has a chance to bring north korea back into the npt and so forth. what i'm saying is shouldn't we
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be now looking to create opportunities out of what we have? we've seen some positive factors here. isn't this, would you describe it as such an urgent issue, one where we pull out the stops and we try to see what we want and we make it work. i say that to you because i remember you and i have had a conversation about the agreed framework where you said it may have been flawed, but it waset. that's the other side of this, should we be shooting for what we really want or what we can get. i lts noticed that china was very little mentioned in today's conversation and that was sort of surprising. >> admiral. so i think that we should be creative, aggressive, et cetera, et cetera in a kind of
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philosophical way, but in terms of politically how we approach these toex, there are at least two good reasons for not -- for that not being our body posture, our visible body posture. i'm maybe thinking this way. i think we ought to be thinking creatively. one, the dynamic with north korea. i always thought, and i had reason for thinking that every time the north thought we really wanted something, it would be -- it was a lot harder to get it. that's true in any negotiation, generally speaking. but my negotiating partner literally said to me before the elections in '9 4, and i can't quote, but something close to, i know you need an agreement before your elections. in any negotiation, if someone says i know you need to buy this car, whatever the -- you're going to say, actually i don't,
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i can walk away at any time i want. this to me was bad news if he believed it. certainly it was untrue. and i told him it's untrue. they would have had to have told me this if they wanted me to have an agreement, they didn't. by the way, american congressional elections turning on what happens in north korea. they don't know where north korea is, they don't care. i tried to deflate this as much as possible. what i'm telling you is i wouldn't want the north koreans as they go to this to think that this is for us domestically important in kind of a political sense, that we really need this for regional balance. there may be some truth on the second part of this. but i worry about how much they think we have invested in it and how much harder that would make the negotiate. second, there is that domestic political context. you could leave that out of syria's foreign policy discussion, but i think at your peril. i've injected it in here because i know it matters in this
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country and south korea and other democracies. woirry that -- in this administration, you'll notice the way glen put it and others that talked, the secretary talked about this, very kaye cautious. they are poor mouthing that engagement in beijing to the max. in terms of american domestic politics, i they have to do that. both comments go to what's visible. below that in terms of how we ought to be looking at this, absolutely. what i was trying to say and trying to do it cautiously, that the alternatives are -- really aren't there. the only reason you go into that mode of containment is because you don't have the political basis to continue engagement, right? containment doesn't help you. containment doesn't contain it. they're not bursting out,
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containment is not a good strategy. this issue doesn't age well, it doesn't become fine wine. i'm very much in favor of a very aggressive intellectual approach to this. this is the way to go. inside government i would definitely be making the case we need to seize these opportunities and move. but that can't be the presentation of the issue in my view for political reasons? >> [ inaudible ]. >> that would be good. >> if i could make an added comment or two to endorse everything bob just said, but add this, we're dealing with an extraordinarily self referential system to put it mildly. we can already see in some of the comments even in the context is trying to put, dairy say, its best foot forward. it's characterize bid the north
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koreans that the americans are really ready to move now. indeed, for example, in the north korean wren deferring they say the yunltd states says it no longer has hostile intent. every administration has said that, for their own purposes, perhaps their own obscure domestic purposes, legitimacy purposes, they feel it's necessary to characterize it in this fashion. but i think -- i'm totally persuaded that the state department team that's responsible here is very mindful of the risks. they're also trying their level-headed best to test the possibility that we can make some headway here. i think for political reason, both here at home and internationally, we have to do this in a very, very prudent manner. one other thing, eric, we must note, when someone asked me the other day, why can't we move ahead with north korea here, there and everywhere, i reminded someone there are two korean
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states, not one. our primary loyalties an affiliations and interests lie with the republic of korea. we should never forget that and never forget that the north and the south are fighting this six-decade-long battle on who really has a claim to be the legitimate korean state. what to me is interesting, if you think about it, is that china and russia have long since recognized we live in a two-korea world. china's trade with north korea last year went to the highest levels, two-way trade, $5.6 billion, historic highs. china's trade with south korea was $220 billion. i'm not saying trade alone is san indicator. that's an indication in part, the challenge here is can north korea let go or ease what i will call its fundamental nuclear identity it sees as so integral to the way it proceeds as a state and that it's closely associated with a deeply adversarial view of the outside world. that doesn't get over come in a
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minute or a year. but that to me is the real test, the real challenge yet to come. >> peter garretson, u.s. air force. i wanted to first start with the whole question that we started out, the turks, saudi and possibly egypt. i would think if i were an iranian security planner, i would see that prof live ration as a worse world for me to and i would keep a recessed capability without moving to weaponization until i had somebody on my doorstep doing that, unless i was feeling directly threatened by the united states orr israel. so i -- on the one hand, or at least i heard iran discussing what they would see as a security deficit. i have to wonder then, if
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sanctions in particular are not expected to work, and i haven't heard from any of you that there's reason to suspect they'll work as they apparently did not with india, and if our strategic competitors think that an eventual reproach month with iran is inevitable, what is the sense in slowing down the potential long-term reproach month with iran by going with a sanctions regime that we think will not work, will consolidate the regime's hold on their populous and further distance those that might be sympathetic to us while passing um potential where we could be working on mutual strategic interest in re-supply of afghanistan or larger security sbrerests in the region such as the ipi, et cetera. >> do you want to start? >> i'll start.
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look, i think i'm the most skeptical about the prospects of these sanctions having an effect during the time period we need them to have an effect, but i understand the motivation for them. and i understand this persistent tendency that we have to -- toward over optimism, irrational exuberance with our expectations on sanctions. it was only two years ago that there was talk that the ban on refined petroleum sales to iran which at that time was dependent on imports for about 40% of its daily gasoline usage, was going to hit iran's achilles' heel and drive the population onto the streets and, therefore, force the regime to take a much more moderate approach to its foreign policy, in particular the nuclear policy. all of these expectations have persistently proven untrue. yet, you can look back in history and it is quite clear, former president ralph san janney says in his memoirs it
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was the economic constraints iran was over that forced ayatollah khomeini to force him to do what he said he would never do. so there is an economic dimension and a rational dimension to iran's strategic foreign policy, strategic decision making which i think underpins this impetus towards sanctions as well as a desire to see the next step. the difficulty with the formula we have applied to iran is that when we posit, that pressure will work, the solution to the failure of pressure is always more pregs sure. you have this constantesque lags of pressure. at this stage we're really at a point where there's almost mog we can throw against the wall other than a wholesale and enforced embargo on iran's oil exports wii brings us really to a military conflict fairly quickly at any case. that said, i would argue these sanctions are not sanctions
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which are likely to bring about the administration's stated goal of negotiations. they are sanctions which, if left in place over a prolonged period of time, will eventually expedite the process of political change which is omni press sent in iran and even today during a manipulated electoral process we see a process and existence of politics in iran which is deeper and wider i think than almost anywhere else in the region today. so for that reason, i see these sanctions really as sangszs of containment, sanctions that are intended to degrade the capabilities of the regime rather than bring the regime to the negotiating table and facilitate over what will inevitably be a long period of time, far longer than what israeli and other decision makers we have to effect their calculus. some sort of change in the character of the leadership and in their decision making on the
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nuclear issue. >> i want to make two points in response. one is the narrative i proceed with when i think about the iranian nuclear wrep upons program. the second is what we could on our best day hope for from the current strategy. on the first point, my narrative begins not with some iranian government waking up and deciding they were threatened by qatar. it is born of a desooir on the part of the shah which has everybody increasingly notes and is true when that program began. for a persian position in the region that i think is traditionally called hegemonic. that's what the nuclear weapons program was born of, and i believe that's why it has been pursued. i don't believe that iran is doing this as a matter of
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defen defense, this it feels threatened. i believe this is still a drive for hegemonic position in the region. that speaks the part of what you. as to where we can end up on our best day, on our xweft day what would need to be happen, is there would be palms slapping foreheads in iran saying, okay, the pain is too much, it will cause trouble internally, for whatever reason we've got to deal with this. we can't give up our enrichment program, but what would we want them to development what we want them to do is accept protocol, accept inspections and allow the iaea to ask all its questions, get them all answered, go anywhere it wishes. as you know, the iaea will be guided by member states as to where it should go, we would
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flush this program. we would then inspect the hell out of it and we would be sure that there was no higher levels of enrichment going on. if they reconcile themselves with the npta pursuant to that treaty, there wouldn't be a very good basis for saying iran can't have an enrichment program as i understand it in legal terms. there would be to say that, wait a minute. this is very suspicious, israel wouldn't like it. we wouldn't like it. it's inconsistent with the nuclear economy of one reactor, one power reactor, but okay, that would be the best outcome, an enrichment program that you could reasonably hope for, operating at low levels of enrichment under very, very nearly constant iaea inspection, access to the country as necessary to ensure there wasn't a parallel program anywhere, no nuclear weapons development work going on, and then probably something would have to be said
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about that plutonium production reactor, also known as a research reactor being built at iraq. so there's a way out of this without a strike and without a nuclear weapons program in iran. the problem is getting from here to there and seeing whether those foreheads are going to be to get slapped by palms who decide this is just too painful a set of political and economic conditions to live with that we will go and embrace that outcome. that's been there. the european haves been ready. the americans have been ready, as strobe said, the russians would love it. but we haven't gotten them there yet. the exquisite comment that suzanne just made was, in the amount of time we have left to have that happen. hard one. >> we have time for one last very short question, right here. please short. >> steve huntsman, i'd like to thank the panel for the insight and ask a brief question which
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is are there any useful lessons we can draw from the south african experience? >> sanctions work. >> so does regime change. >> right. thank you, thank you, yes. >> i think -- let me -- short question, short answer. okay. >> and it looked so complicated 90 minutes ago. >> that's right. >> okay. let me ask you to than join me in thanking the panel for the presentation today. today from the national
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press club, watch a discussion with john pistol, head of the transportation security administration on the future of aviation security. that will be live on c-span2 at 1:00 p.m. eastern. coming up on c-span3 at 3:00 p.m., an overview of the federal trade commission budget request for 2013. we'll hear from john liebowitz, chairman of the federal trade commission. president obama has requested $51.6 billion for state department funding in 2013. secretary of state hillary clinton defended this request at a house foreign affairs question. she answered questions on iran, iraq, oil prices, pakistan and the burning of korans by u.s. troops. this is about two hours and 35 minutes. >> the meeting

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